Notre Dame Football: Nick Tausch

Sixteen former Notre Dame players will take part in Thursday's NFL Pro Day at the Loftus Sports Center, the school announced Monday.

Though each's exact participation has yet to be determined, the names scheduled to be in attendance this week are George Atkinson III, Carlo Calabrese, Dan Fox, Mike Golic Jr., Bennett Jackson, TJ Jones, Zack Martin, Troy Niklas, Louis Nix III, Tommy Rees, Kona Schwenke, Prince Shembo, Nick Tausch, Stephon Tuitt, Robby Toma and Chris Watt.

Golic and Toma both finished their Irish careers during the 2012 season.

One player from that list who won't be participating in any drills is Tuitt, who told ESPN.com in a text message that he already completed such drills during his Feb. 28 pro day at Lovett (Ga.) High. Tuitt had surgery earlier this month to repair a stress fracture in his left foot that was discovered during the NFL scouting combine.

Testing and position-specific drills Thursday start around 11:45 a.m. ET.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Kyle Brindza's eyes lit up a bit when he was asked if managing his workload was akin to a pitch count in baseball.

"I'm glad you bring that up," Brindza said. "We're kind of definitely just like pitchers: You kind of have to have a set amount. I go out there with a set amount of field goals on the day. ... I'm not going to go over it. If I go under it, that's fine, because I was able to do it well enough to be able to go under it. But if I go over it, that's kind of something I need to hold myself back from."

Kyle Brindza
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesIn addition to punting, Kyle Brindza is once again kicking field goals for Notre Dame.
For the second straight year, Brindza took over as place-kicker in Notre Dame's second game. He connected on all three field goal attempts last Saturday in his home state of Michigan, hitting from 24, 44 and 40 yards out. The difference this year is that, in addition to his kickoff duties, Brindza is also the Irish's primary punter, and bears the responsibilities in all three special teams areas after Ben Turk graduated.

Nick Tausch was invited back for a fifth season of eligibility to compete with Brindza and help lighten the place-kicking load, but Tausch missed on his first attempt in the opener, allowing Brindza the chance to take over.

Brindza also missed, though coach Brian Kelly pegged much of the blame on new holder Luke Massa. Brindza was back in his familiar spot last weekend, a year after being thrust into the same role following Tausch's mid-week groin injury following the 2012 opener.

Brindza responded in Week 2 of last season by kicking a game-winning 27-yard field goal with seven seconds left to beat Purdue. He ended up hitting a school single-season record 23 field goals, including a 22-yarder in the rain to send the Stanford game into overtime. He hit five in the regular-season finale at USC, including one from 52 yards.

Alex Wulfeck, a fifth-year walk-on transfer from Wake Forest, can spell Brindza at punter if necessary this season. But the 6-foot-1, 236-pound junior has learned to better manage his workload, relying on stretching, repetition and muscle memory to become what he calls "10 times more flexible" since he arrived at Notre Dame.

"It's kind of like your studies -- when it's football time, you focus on football; when it's your study time, you focus on studying," Brindza said of dividing the duties. "It's kind of just, all right, when I'm punting, focus on punting. When kicking's there, the kicking can come. So I guess it took off a little, but now that I'm able to be kind of in a role of being able to focus on both it's kind of evened its way out."

What to watch: Notre Dame at Michigan

September, 5, 2013
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Here's what to keep an eye on Saturday when the Irish make their final scheduled trip to the Big House.

1. Atmosphere. Irish players repeatedly talked about the 2011 game-day environment being unlike anything they've ever seen. Expect a similar, emotionally-charged atmosphere again, minus the throwback jerseys and funny referee hats.

2. Rees in control. Tommy Rees is the one player Notre Dame can always count on to not get caught up in commotion. He had some very bright moments late in the 2011 game as a sophomore, and he is only better and more mature now. Look for a strong day from No. 11.

3) Kicking game. Notre Dame went 0-for-2 on field goal tries against Temple, and it cannot afford to do that at Michigan. Brian Kelly made it sound like the job will be Kyle Brindza's to lose after both he and Nick Tausch misfired in Week 1, and he said new holder Luke Massa was partly to blame for Brindza's miss.

Weekend rewind: Notre Dame Week 1

September, 2, 2013
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Here's a look back at the opening weekend that was for Notre Dame:

The good: Notre Dame ended a one-game losing streak that no one would stop talking about. The Irish's 28-6 win over Temple got them off to a sharp start in 2013, as they did not turn the ball over and had strong play from quarterback Tommy Rees and the rest of the offense.

[+] EnlargeTommy Rees
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesTommy Rees was sharp in the opening victory over Temple.
The bad: Nick Tausch missed his only field goal attempt, a 39-yard try. Kyle Brindza then missed one from 44 yards, making the Irish 0-for-2 on the day. Head coach Brian Kelly had wanted Saturday to be somewhat of an audition for his kickers, and the Irish are now left with a crucial decision to make heading into this Saturday's game at Michigan.

Biggest surprise: Kelly had harped on it throughout camp, but Rees' ball distribution was evident Saturday, as he connected with seven different receivers, including four who hauled in multiple catches. Not among them were freshmen Corey Robinson and James Onwualu, or redshirt freshman C.J. Prosise, either.

Best quote: Kelly won his 200th career game, becoming the fifth fastest to accomplish the feat (270 games) and second youngest (51 years, 310 days old, second only to Pop Warner) to do it, per Notre Dame, among college coaches with at least five years of service or 50 victories at a school that was classified as a major college. Asked during a Sunday teleconference what 200 career wins mean, Kelly said: "That I'm a pretty good coach when I recruit good players."

Next up: Notre Dame travels to Michigan for the final scheduled time, and for the second-ever night game at the Big House. College GameDay will be in town, just like it was last time. And we all know how that one ended. If the past four years are any indication, this one will likely come down to the wire. And it will likely give the winner a huge boost on the path to a potential BCS bowl berth.

What we learned about ND: Week 1

September, 1, 2013
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Here's what to take away from Notre Dame's 28-6 season-opening win over Temple.

ND1. Rees looks better. There's no such thing as a perfectly clean opening game. But Notre Dame delivered about as crisp of a performance as one could have asked for offensively, starting with Tommy Rees. He led the Irish to touchdowns on their first two drives and avoided the bad decisions that had plagued him earlier in his career, allowing Irish nation to rest easy as Notre Dame heads to Michigan for Week 2.

2. Carlisle might become a major factor. Notre Dame's first play of the game? A 45-yard rush for Amir Carlisle, who was playing in his first game with the Irish after a broken ankle cost him last season after getting a waiver to play immediately following his transfer from USC. Carlisle had a team-best 68 rushing yards on just seven carries, adding two catches for 5 yards. He looked like the best of the five running backs the Irish used Saturday, and he could grow into a bigger role in the offense as the season progresses.

3. Kicking woes need to be resolved. Brian Kelly wanted Week 1 to be somewhat of a tryout between Nick Tausch and Kyle Brindza. Kelly could not have liked what he saw, as each missed his lone field goal attempt. Michigan will be far less forgiving of such mistakes next week if Notre Dame cannot work out the kinks there.

4. Freshmen make presence felt. Notre Dame played 10 true freshmen in the opener, with Corey Robinson and Jaylon Smith earning the starts. Receivers James Onwualu and Will Fuller, cornerback Cole Luke and end Isaac Rochell saw action early, with Max Redfield and Devin Butler getting special teams action. Running backs Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston carried the ball late in the game, finishing with 35 total yards. Folston was the only freshman to catch a pass, hauling in a 9-yard grab.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Here's a quick look at what went down in Notre Dame's 28-6 season-opening win over Temple:

It was over when: George Atkinson III's two-yard touchdown rush with 5:37 left in the third quarter gave Notre Dame a 28-6 edge and some needed breathing room against a Temple team that hung around longer than most expected.

Game ball goes to: There is plenty of credit to go around on offense, but at the end of the day you have to go with Tommy Rees. The senior signal caller completed 16 of 24 passes for 346 yards with three touchdowns. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over.

Stat of the game: Four total missed field goals will stand out. So, too, will Temple's Jim Cooper having his extra-point attempt blocked by Jarron Jones. Irish coach Brian Kelly had said that Saturday would be somewhat of an audition for kickers Nick Tausch and Kyle Brindza. Each missed a field goal try, leaving the Irish with a minor issue heading into Michigan next weekend.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame's defensive line has taken another hit heading into 2013, as the Irish have lost Tony Springmann for the season because of a left knee dislocation with severe ligament damage, coach Brian Kelly said during Thursday's media day.

Springmann, who will undergo surgery, was not dressed and had his left knee wrapped during the previous two media viewings of practice, with Kelly initially ruling the redshirt sophomore out for the Aug. 31 season-opener against Temple.

The 6-foot-5, 296-pound Springmann played in every game last season, notching 11 total tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and three quarterback hurries.

Notre Dame's depth up front took a blow earlier this summer when five-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes opted out of his National Letter of Intent and went to UCLA, where he was later granted immediate eligibility.

Kelly said that he is not concerned about another Irish end, Stephon Tuitt, after the junior went down Thursday in practice after twisting his knee. Tuitt walked off the field on his own power.

As for special teams, George Atkinson III will return kickoffs again and T.J. Jones will return punts. Kelly also said that Nick Tausch, Kyle Brindza and Alex Wulfeck will all play against Temple, with Brindza getting the first shot at punter while remaining in charge of kickoffs.

Notes: Kelly said that Everett Golson (academic suspension) is working out in Chicago and plans on heading to San Diego for two months to work with quarterback guru George Whitfield. Golson does not need to enroll in any classes. ... Zack Martin, TJ Jones and Bennett Jackson are Notre Dame's 2013 captains. Martin was a captain last year as well, making him the 18th two-time captain in school history. … Jaylon Smith (dog) and Austin Collinsworth (safety) both worked with the first-team defense during the media's viewing of practice. … Tackle Ronnie Stanley (concussion), guard Mark Harrell and running back William Mahone were not in pads. Steve Elmer received first-team reps at right tackle with Stanley out, with Christian Lombard again at right guard. Kelly said he hasn't nailed down a staring five on the offensive line but said that Stanley and Elmer will both play this year. Stanley should be back Monday if all goes well. … Guards Chris Watt and Conor Hanratty and running backs Cam McDaniel and Tarean Folston were all back from practice as well.
Kyle Brindza made the 30-man watch list Wednesday for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the nation's top kicker.

Brindza filled in for an injured Nick Tausch during Week 2 and hit a game-winning 27-yard field goal with seven seconds left to beat Purdue, never looking back.

He made 23 of 31 field goal attempts on the year, breaking John Carney's Notre Dame record for both makes and attempts in a season. (Carney nailed 21 of 28 attempts in 1986.)

Brindza went 28-for-29 on extra point tries, and he handled kickoff duties all season long for the Irish, averaging 62.6 yards on 71 kicks, finishing with 26 touchbacks.

His five field goals in the regular-season finale at USC tied a school single-game record, and he also came up big late in a Week 6 win over Stanford, connecting from 22 yards out in awful conditions with 20 seconds left to force overtime.

Brindza's story is an unconventional one, as the junior was born with clubfoot, severely hampering his athletic abilities as a young child.

Twenty semifinalists for the award will be announced Nov. 4, with three finalists being unveiled Nov. 25. The winner will be announced during the Dec. 12 Home Depot College Football Awards Show in Orlando, Fla.

Last week Brindza was also named to the 32-man place-kicker watch list for the College Football Performance Awards.

Notre Dame mailblog

March, 1, 2013
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What's up?

Greg from San Francisco writes: Hi Matt, What's the real scoop on Ishaq Williams ? He came in as 5 star HS recruit along with Stephan Tuitt. He's not a starter and is played sparingly. Is it too early to consider him a recruitment bust ?

Matt Fortuna: Greg, I'd say it's too early, yes. He saw more and more action as the season went on last year, and I think the instant big impact others in his recruiting class -- namely, Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt -- made at Notre Dame have probably skewed outside expectations. Fellow cat linebacker Prince Shembo's standout 2012 campaign probably didn't help matters, either.




Colin Meyer from Madison, Ind., writes: How long do you think it will take for Gunner Kiel to figure out that he is squandering his NFL career by sitting on ND's bench?

Matt Fortuna: Colin, this was a popular topic late last season, even as the Irish made their run to the national title game. We got to talk to Kiel during bowl media day, and he said the thought of transferring never crossed his mind. While Everett Golson clearly has the inside track heading into the spring, the quarterback position has been far from stable at Notre Dame in recent years, and we all know that Brian Kelly won't hesitate to make a switch if the production isn't up to par. I'd wait and see how things unfold in 2013 before speculating on Kiel's future.




Bobby from Pensacola, Fla., writes: Now that the recruiting class is signed it will be interesting to hear about the medical status of the players and 5th year invites... Let's get on it Matt, time to know what the roster is going to look like. GO IRISH!!!

Matt Fortuna: Bobby, no official word, but barring anything unforeseen the returning fifth-year players figure to be Zack Martin, Chris Watt, Dan Fox and Carlo Calabrese. I'd say Nick Tausch has a chance, too. As for medical status, Matt Hegarty (ministroke) is expected to be cleared by spring practice, Austin Collinsworth (shoulder and back surgeries) should be ready and Bennett Jackson and Fox (shoulder surgeries) will likely be limited come spring. I'd be surprised if Lo Wood (Achilles) participated at all in the spring, and, last we heard from Kelly, constant leg problems might force Tate Nichols to take a medical redshirt.
Our series continues with a record-setter ...

No. 24: Kyle Brindza, K

Making the case: Brindza made the most field goals in a single season in Notre Dame history, connecting on 23 of 31 tries in 2012. And he was only responsible for kickoffs entering the season, before Nick Tausch suffered a groin injury following Week 1. Brindza responded a week later by hitting a 27-yard field goal late to beat Purdue. He connected from as deep as 52 yards out -- at USC in the regular-season finale -- and he nailed a 22-yarder in the pouring rain to force overtime in a victory over Stanford. Brindza will have plenty of opportunities to build off his record campaign, as he has two more years of eligibility remaining. Not a bad start for someone who was born with club foot and told he would never play sports.

Preseason ranking: NR

The countdown

No. 25 Chris Brown, WR
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Kyle Brindza has kicked a game-winner this year, and he has kicked a game-saver in the pouring rain. He has connected from as deep as 52 yards, and he has made a Notre Dame-record 23 tries this season, despite not even entering 2012 as the starter.

[+] EnlargeKyle Brindza
Matt Cashore/US PresswireKyle Brindza has delivered in big moments this season for Notre Dame.
All of that will go out the window when the nation's two best scoring defenses clash Jan. 7 in South Florida, and the spotlight is something the sophomore could not be more excited about.

"I invite pressure. I love pressure," Brindza said. "That's one of the weirdest things for a kicker. My kicking coach always asked me: 'Why do you like pressure?' I just like it. You're out there, everything's on you — what are you going to do? You're going to make it or you miss it.

"People are going to put odds against you. I love when people put odds against me, and I've faced them all my life. I'm just one of those kids that invites pressure."

The last of five surgeries to repair club foot -- a birth condition in which Brindza's feet were rotated internally, with doctors saying he'll never play, let alone kick -- came eight years ago, and Brindza's historic season has only validated his and his mother's decision to defy orders.

Taking over for an injured Nick Tausch in the home opener against Purdue, Brindza missed his first career try, a 40-yarder, before his 27-yarder late beat Purdue. A season-defining win over Stanford was made possible by his 22-yarder on the soaked Notre Dame Stadium grass that forced overtime.

He is 23 of 31 on the season, with four notable misses coming from inside 40 yards. But he has missed consecutive tries only once, in his first two attempts against BYU, and Brian Kelly has had little to worry about when it comes to Brindza's mental makeup.

"If there’s one word, he’s been pretty clutch for us," the Irish coach said. "When we needed that big kick, when the game's on the line, he’s delivered every single time. What I like about him is he doesn’t get rattled. He may miss one here or there, but there’s generally not a pattern for him."

With Alabama and Notre Dame ranking 1-2 in red-zone defense, opportunities figure to strike for Brindza on the nation's biggest stage. His earlier obstacles, on and off the field, have only hardened him for the moment.

"You can't get rid of a miss right away. You have to understand what you did wrong and then get rid of it," Brindza said. "Just like in golf. You miss a putt — what'd you do wrong? Don't do that next time, punch it away. So it's pretty much understanding what you did wrong and being able to go out there the next time and do the correct fundamentals rather than what did you do wrong."

Kelly likes Kyle Brindza's confidence

November, 7, 2012
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Four misses and a whiffed extra point over the past three games have not affected Kyle Brindza's confidence.

If it did, Brian Kelly would be much more concerned.

But the last thing the third-year Notre Dame head coach is worried about nine games in is the mental makeup of his kicker, who took the job in Week 2 because of Nick Tausch's groin injury.

[+] EnlargeKyle Brindza
Matt Cashore/US PresswireKyle Brindza missed a field goal and extra point against Pitt, but coach Brian Kelly says he's not concerned about his kicker.
"I know Kyle Brindza," Kelly said Tuesday. "I've seen him kick in high school. I know what he's made of. He's won a state championship. He's going to move on. For him, [it's] consistency of mechanics.

"But the pressure -- I always look for, is the game affecting a player? Are the circumstances affecting a player? That doesn't affect him. It's mechanical, and I'm going over there saying, 'Hey, listen, get on the side, kick it again, we're going to need you. How do you feel?' 'I feel good.' That's all I am looking for."

Brindza bounced back Saturday from a missed 43-yarder at the end the first half and the wide extra point to send the game into double overtime with a 37-yarder, his third made field goal of the day.

The sophomore is 17-of-23 on the season and 17-of-18 on extra-point attempts, though he's been the victim of some bad snaps, as well. Brindza's longest make is 47 yards, and he remains one of the key cogs of the Irish's special teams, which reared its ugly head Saturday with a number of misplayed punt returns and poor return coverage.

"I guess the area that we need to continue to grow towards consistency is the skill area," Kelly said. "It's fielding all those punts. It's kicking the ball consistently. It's snapping the ball consistently. I guess those are the areas that I want to see improvement on.

"But by and large, our special teams have not been a reason for me to stay up all night. It's those catching the punt, snapping, it's holding, it's kicking. Those are the things. Those are skill players. That's a craft that they just practice every day, and we've got to keep them going."
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson's return from a concussion officially should come early this week.

Coach Brian Kelly said during a teleconference Sunday that his starting quarterback will go through more exercises Monday to determine his readiness going into the week, with the expectation that he will start for the Fighting Irish when they play Saturday night at Oklahoma.

"We'll do a full-physical exertion tomorrow and really kind of get after it from a cardio standpoint and make sure that he's passed all of those markers, if you will," Kelly said. "So I think tomorrow would be really the last test for us."

To read the full story, click here.

Injury updates: Kelly said Sunday that receiver John Goodman (back) is expected to play Saturday at Oklahoma after missing two straight games. ... Bennett Jackson (neck strain) is getting treatment and remains a little sore but should be fine Saturday, too. ... Safety Nicky Baratti suffered a shoulder subluxation but returned to action. The freshman posted on Twitter that he dislocated his shoulder, prompting Kelly to crack: "He doesn't get to use Twitter next week."

Faith unwavering: Kelly acknowledged that kicker Nick Tausch's hip injury may have been more serious than he had initially anticipated, but he likes what he sees from Kyle Brindza despite the sophomore's two misses Saturday. "He's got a great makeup. Mentally he's a tough kid. He's not afraid of the big moment. Those are all the things I'm concerned with the most. I never saw a crack there at all. He was a little off on his technique. He knew it and he'll work hard on it in terms of correcting it this week. But he's got the makeup to be a guy that you can keep rolling out there."

Second-guessing? Kelly was at his politically-correct best when asked about BYU's second touchdown, a 2-yard Kaneakua Friel catch that was upheld despite replays showing he bobbled the ball on his way to the ground: "All right, what comment do you want me to use? I didn't see it the same way. I thought I had a pretty good view. It's one of those things, I guess it's got to be from a replay standpoint when the call is made on the field, they've got to be absolutely certain. I thought I had a good look at it. But I guess those things even out."

Bye week grades: Special teams

October, 4, 2012
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SPECIAL TEAMS

Grade: B

Summary: Notre Dame is averaging four punt return yards per game. This qualifies as massive progress after last season, when the Irish netted three punt return yards on the year through 12 regular-season games before Michael Floyd brought one back 38 yards in the bowl game. Davonte' Neal's best days are ahead of him, and he has shown shiftiness and confidence you don't see too often from true freshmen. The punting game, meanwhile, has been strong, especially when needed most. Ben Turk had a standout performance at Michigan State, a game in which the field position battle was crucial in the second half. George Atkinson III, like most prominent kick return men, has been limited by the new kickoff rules. The kick-coverage unit has room for improvement after surrendering more than 26 yards per return through four games (109th in the nation). Kyle Brindza, meanwhile, has filled in nicely for the injured Nick Tausch, kicking the game-winner against Purdue. Overall a good, not great, showing from the Irish's special teams units.

Previous report cards:

Quarterbacks

Defensive line

Offensive line

Linebackers

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Secondary

Notre Dame mailblog

September, 14, 2012
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Lots of good questions this week. Let's get right to it.

Harry from Dalton, Ga., writes: Hey Matt. I'm wondering where this puts Hendrix in as far as getting playing time. It appears he is number 3 now and might not get much playing time with Rees having the more experience.

Matt Fortuna: Harry, [Andrew] Hendrix is certainly caught in a bit of a rough situation. He's not good enough to supplant [Everett] Golson as the starter, and he doesn't have the intangibles and experience that [Tommy] Rees has. But I think he still has assets Notre Dame likes. Brian Kelly has not named either the No. 2 quarterback. I'd expect Hendrix to see mostly late-game action in contests that are already decided, much like the Navy opener. Whether that will be enough to help his development -- or enough to surpass either quarterback in their respective roles -- remains to be seen.




Evan Sharp from South Lyon, Mich., writes: Hey Matt. With all of the recent injuries to the defense especially how do you think that will affect an already questionable defense against RB Bell and an improving QB Maxwell next week? Also what is YOUR input on who will get more reps in East Lansing between Golson vs. Hendrix, Rees and Riddick vs. Atkinson and a returning Wood? Thanks, Evan

Matt Fortuna: Evan, I don't think any of the injuries were serious enough to limit any of the defensive players this week. The only player who won't be able to go is kicker Nick Tausch, who hurt his groin late last week. Golson will start, and the plan is for him to finish. But if he has trouble late like he did last week and the outcome is still up in the air, it will be very interesting to see if Kelly makes the switch to Rees. Theo Riddick will start, and though Cierre Wood and George Atkinson are listed as the co-No. 2 running backs this week, I'd expect Wood to see more carries.




Mike Lozano from Orlando, Fla., writes: Hi Matt, I'm not sure how to feel about the recent move by ND to affiliate with the ACC. While I'm happy ND will get more exposure to recruits in the southeast & access to the Orange/other bowl games, the 5 game scheduling requirement against ACC teams makes me feel uneasy. Your thoughts?

Matt Fortuna: Mike, it shouldn't. Notre Dame plays four ACC games this season already, if you include Pittsburgh. It played four last season, if you include Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl. This move is a home run for the Irish, and it gives them plenty of bowl access, which has been arguably the biggest issue the program has faced in recent years.




Jason from Fishers, Ind., writes: I am just curious where the idea that the Purdue rivalry doesn't have the same history as the others in the Big Ten comes from. ND has played something like 84 games against the Boilers all time, which I believe puts it second on the number of times played list behind Navy. I have been having a discussion with my buddies about this and they are sort of in your camp, believing that the Purdue rivalry will be sacrificed with the new scheduling that takes place. I argue that this rivalry is more important to keep going than all others aside from Navy and USC. The Michigan rivalry has been on again, off again and Stanford is not a true rivalry, just an excuse to get out west. I am of the belief that now, more than previously, the Purdue game matters most because it continues to help recruiting and relevance to the midwest. My thought is that the west coast connection is already fulfilled by USC and always has been. The ACC games give you the southeast on up the east coast. A neutral site game can give you the east and even Texas/Oklahoma. If you get rid of all of the B1G rivalries, you basically remove all annual Midwest games that aren't played at home. Keeping Purdue is very important because it keeps an in-state rival to help bolster area recruiting. I know that ND recruits itself many times, but many kids that want to play in the ACC or out west would be better served by just going somewhere in the conference. To truly continue to be "National", ND should play Nationally, not just out west and down south, when away from Notre Dame Stadium. What are your thoughts on this idea? I can't find many that agree with my stance, but I truly see the Purdue rivalry as one very rich in history and necessary for the future. It gets the nod over MSU because of the fact that it is in-state, which holds its own importance.

Matt Fortuna: Jason, I think there will be some kind of scheduling cycle with all of the Big Ten rivalries that Notre Dame has, so I'm not sure the Boilermakers would be just wiped off the schedule for good. As for recruiting? I really don't think playing two hours down the road does much for the Irish. They're pretty well-known in the Midwest regardless. None of those Big Ten rivalries, in Notre Dame's eyes, are as important as the tradition that a Navy game has every year, or as valuable as getting West every year at USC and/or Stanford.

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